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Alabama’s labor participation rate up in December

Alabama’s labor force participation rate ticked up to 57.2% in December, an increase of .1 percentage point from November.

And more “prime-age” workers, those ages 25 to 54, were working last month. Their labor participation rate rose from 78.4% to 78.5%, the Alabama Department of Labor announced today. 

Unemployment remains low, but did see a slight increase in December to 2.6%, up .2% from November. It was also 2.6% in December 2022.

As the number of people searching for jobs reached historic lows, Alabama policymakers have focused on the labor rate and those people not participating in the state’s workforce.

“As we continue to see growth in our labor force participation rate, with our prime-age worker participation rate increasing by nearly a half of a percentage point over the year, we will continue our efforts to reach more of underutilized workforce populations,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a written statement. “We know that the labor force participation rate for the state is tied to its demographic population, so we must work together to encourage those who traditionally may not be heavily recruited by employers to work with us to get them in the workforce.”

Alabama’s workforce participation rate remains below a national rate in the 62% range.

Lawmakers’ regular legislative session begins next month and the labor participation rate and ways to increase it will likely be a high-profile topic. Previously identified barriers to the workforce include transportation, health issues, a lack of child care and familial obligations.

The December unemployment rate represents 59,454 unemployed people, compared to 55,462 in November and 59,986 in December 2022.

The number of people counted as employed increased by 40,194 over the year to a record high of 2,264,098.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in December were: Shelby,1.9%; Morgan, Marshall, and Cullman, at 2.1%; and Madison, Limestone, Elmore, Chilton and Autauga, 2.2%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Vestavia Hills, 1.7%; Alabaster, Homewood and Madison, 1.8%; and Hoover, Northport and Trussville, 1.9%


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